FOX47 NEWS - Judge Dismisses Parts of Zimmermann Lawsuit

Jeff Angileri
Jun 2, 2009, 9:39 PM

A Dane County judge has dismissed County Executive Kathleen Falk as a defendant in the lawsuit filed by the family of a murdered UW student.

Dane County Judge Maryann Sumi issued a ruling Tuesday that says Brittany Zimmermann's family cannot sue Falk.

The suit accuses the county of mishandling the 911 call Zimmermann made from her cell phone the day she was murdered, back in April 2008.

The lawsuit claims former 911 dispatcher Rita Gahagan did not follow proper procedure by failing to call the cell phone back when the call disconnected, and in not sending police, and alleges Falk and Dane County caused emotional distress by denying there was a call, and then publicly stating there were no sounds of distress in the call.

Falk's attorney, Claude Covelli told Fox 47 Sumi's decision also narrows the scope of the lawsuit to the mishandled phone call alone. Zimmerman family's attorney had argued Falk's actions in previous years in connection with staffing the center had played a role in the wrongful death.

Zimmermann's fiance, Jordan Gonnering, was also dismissed by Sumi as a plaintiff in the lawsuit. The judge said he can not sue for damages because he is not a member of Zimmermann's immediate family.

Gonnering's attorney told Fox 47 he and his client are already planning to appeal the judge's decision.

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